Now Playing

The East Bay's Caffeine Scene Gets a Big Jolt

Supersonic hits Berkeley.

John Laird's state-of-the-art roastery


Beer’s not the only thing brewing in Berkeley—come summer, the city will be home to Supersonic, a coffee roastery and retail brand founded by John Laird, the founder and former owner of Pacific Bay Coffee. Laird’s impressive opening team includes vets of Stumptown, Four Barrel, and Handsome Coffee Roasters, as well as his wife, Björg Brend Laird, the former organizer of the nordic Barista Cup.

In partnership with Oslo’s Nordic approach, Laird plans to import rarities like Kenya’s Ndumberi and Kirangano beans. He’s also collaborating with Kees van der Westen to become the primary U.S. distributor of the Dutch company’s ultra-rarefied espresso machines. Look for the roastery in early July, along with an Airstream trailer that will serve as a coffee shop of sorts.

By 2015, Laird hopes to have opened cafés in Berkeley and Oakland. The overall plan, he says, is to balance wholesale roasting with retailing. “Being one or the other is just not a recipe for success,” he explains. “People want to know you can walk the walk.” 2322 5th St. (near Bancroft Way), Berkeley


Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco.

Have feedback? Email us at
Email Rebecca Flint Marx at
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Rebecca Flint Marx at @EdibleComplex